ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A special report in Friday’s USA Today featured the National Association of Chain Drug Stores as a leading advocate for empowering patients to take their medications correctly, and for the array of health services that make community pharmacies the face of neighborhood health care, NACDS has announced.
The report, titled “America’s Other Drug Problem,” explores the opportunities and challenges in achieving patient medication adherence. Face-to-face counseling between pharmacists and patients has been shown to be highly effective in improving health and reducing healthcare costs by preventing costly forms of care, including emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and more extensive and expensive treatments, NACDS noted.
In a featured column, NACDS SVP pharmacy care and patient advocacy Kathleen Jaeger presents her perspective as a mom, pharmacist and patient care advocate. The column notes the extensive training that pharmacists receive through a six-year advanced degree program, and their accessibility in healthcare delivery. Jaeger outlines the essential services available at community pharmacies, including medication counseling, vaccinations, health screenings and other wellness programs.
"Through personalized, one-on-one healthcare interaction, your community pharmacist can help improve your health and quality of life,” Jaeger writes. “It’s time to partner with your community pharmacist — the face of neighborhood health care — to turn your questions into answers, and to improve your health and that of a loved-one.” More than half of all Americans are afflicted with at least one chronic illnesses, while approximately one-third of patients suffer from two or more of these diseases, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. Medications are the prime method to treat these illnesses, helping to improve health outcomes and patients’ quality of life.
“Regrettably, most Americans do not take their medications as prescribed. Some patients are confused about their prescriptions, and patients cite many diverse reasons for putting aside their medications,” Jaeger writes. “In 30 states, pharmacists are working with doctors under collaborative management agreements to improve a patient’s drug therapy. And some health plans, employers and insurers are now teaming up with community pharmacists to help patients with chronic diseases understand and take their medications correctly.”
Community pharmacist-provided medication therapy management helps patients understand their medicines, identify potentially unsafe drug interactions and reduce medication nonadherence, which annually costs $290 billion to treat costly complications and avoidable hospital visits, NACDS noted.
Furthermore, community pharmacists in all 50 states are authorized to provide vaccinations against the flu, and in 47 states pharmacists are permitted to provide at least one additional vaccination, including vaccinations for pneumonia, tetanus, hepatitis and shingles.